It’s the final round of byes in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific competition and the tiers are starting to separate in the competition.
With the Brumbies and Hurricanes on a bye, the Chiefs have a chance to open up a lead at the top of the table.
Both the Crusaders and Blues will also be chasing maximum points in their games to give themselves some breathing space on the rest of the chasing pack.
We’ve got your previews and best bets for all four games below so read on and see who we are backing.
Friday 21 April, 5:05pm, FMG Stadium
Still perfect on the season, the Chiefs are an unbackable $1.03 to make it eight from eight on Friday night.
It simply boils down to how much they are going to win by, and such is the marked improvement of the Drua this season that the 23.5 point line (at publish) looks a bit high.
While the Fijians have been blown out in a couple of their defeats, they have been competitive more often than not.
They won’t spring an upset, but there is every reason to back the visitors to keep the scoreline within three converted tries.
Back the Drua to Cover +23.5 @ $1.80
Friday 21 April, 7:35pm, AAMI Park
Like most Australian teams, the Rebels have had their share of struggles with the Crusaders and on recent form that is not going to change this weekend.
While the Crusaders have not really hit their stride with any consistency this season, an out of sorts Rebels side should give them an opportunity to flex their muscle.
History is on their side as well, the Crusaders have won the last six games between the two teams with the smallest margin of victory being 22 points back in 2017.
Considering the Rebels gave up 54 points to the Blues last week, that should tell you all you need to know about their defence.
It’s going to be a blowout.
Back the Crusaders to Cover -18.5 @ $2.00
Saturday 22 April, 5:05pm, Eden Park
Fresh off putting up 50 in Melbourne in their last outing, the Blues have had a fortnight to prepare to welcome the Waratahs to Eden Park.
While the Tahs did pick up their second win of the season last weekend in a 36-16 win over the Force, it did come at a cost with lock Lachie Swinton suspended for seven weeks for a high tackle in that game.
Losing their enforcer is going to harm the Waratahs hopes of keeping this game close, especially if the Blues have used their bye to sort out their inconsistent form from the last month.
So long as they get themselves playing close to their potential, the Blues should be able to run away with this game.
Back the Blues to Cover -16.5 @ $1.95
Saturday 22 April, 7:35pm, HBF Park
This is far and away the toughest match of the round to pick with the trip out to Perth posing a real challenge for the Highlanders to deal with.
Add in a line of 9.5 points that looks about right and you have to question whether the visitors will be able to handle the trip.
In a neutral venue the Highlanders would be the natural play, however weird things tend to happen out west and this might turn into a closer contest than some might expect.
Back the Force to Cover +9.5 @ $1.83